I don’t know about you but life sometimes gets in the way of life. Time here in Kenya is a little bit like “island time” where everyone is very relaxed about time. This took some getting used to when we first moved, but now I do not know if we can go back to “hustle and bustle” time. But regardless of our views on time, life still carries on with or without us. As life carries on, how do we live a life full of purpose and worship? Lately the Lord has been teaching me so much about this topic of worship.
When we think about worship, what things or words come to mind? How do we define it? Singing… Hallelujah, Hallelujah…. Or praying, or being in a church pew? Do these things really comprise the definition of worship? I did us a favor and looked up the definition. It means “the feeling (noun) or showing (verb) of reverence or adoration for a deity”*. What do we revere or adore? A deity. A deity being the “creator and supreme being”*. I feel like this is getting too technical. Let’s put it simply, worship is both a noun and a verb. It involves revering or reverence and adoration, and this adoration is to our creator. Another way to look at it comes from an article I read recently. The article stated that the English word worship came from the words worth ship. This means that worship is showing the worth of God. Worship is a treasure, something so worthy that we do.
But how do we worship? How do we adore the creator of the universe? It does involve singing and being in fellowship with a body of believers. David sang praises to God with the harp and lyre. You might sing in a sanctuary with a full choir and band or without any instruments at all. For us here in Kenya, the church body looks a little different. We have a home church that meets each Sunday morning in our living room. We have anywhere from 4-15 people. We worship in song on Saturday nights, in the living room of a friend’s house. There are no fancy lights or sound system, no live streaming, and no full band. We have an electric piano, a guitar, and our voices. Sometimes, when there is no power, it is just our voices alone. If we just look at the singing and the “church” aspects of worship, this often limits our views on the wholeness of worship.
Worship is more than just song and fellowship. It is personal. Romans 12:1 says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, offer up your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” Another translation says “this is your spiritual act of worship.” Does the phrase “living sacrifices,” jump off of the page to you? We are to offer ourselves up as living sacrifices. Those who are not familiar with the Old Testament sacrificial system, may not have a picture of what this phrase means. It sounds a little barbaric, archaic. You may get a mental picture of Mayan or Greek sacrifices. But the Old Testament use of sacrifices was to make you holy or atone for your sins. This imagery is important, because we are able to see that He means our bodies, our whole being is meant for the worship of God. Just as a sacrifice was meant for worship in the Old Testament, because of Jesus, who was the ultimate sacrifice, we can now live without the need to bring something. We are able to worship through every facet of our beings. We get to live as a sacrifice without the rituals but instead we have the relationship. Did you get that? What incredible freedom there is in that. You are not tied down to do worship on Sunday or Wednesday when you are in church, or reading your Bible, or doing something religious or spiritual. No, worship is so much more than that. It is praising the Lord as you work on spreadsheets every day, doing the dishes, or driving your car. It is remembering to treasure the worthiness that is found in the creator of the Universe.
I must admit, being in Kenya has led me to worship far more than I remembered doing in the United States. I think this may be due to the fact that our reliance on God has increased as well. We praise and worship the Lord in the small things: rain, Campbell’s soup at the grocery store, or entrance into a new area that was previously closed off to the gospel.
So what is worship? What does it look like for you? It is offering ourselves up every day to God. It is praising him in the small things and the big things. It is keeping that kingdom perspective in all that we do. It is offering up ourselves every day as a living sacrifice. We walk around with the opportunity to worship God in every aspect of life. We have salvation, our sins are forgiven, because of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ made on the cross. Does this bring us to worship? Do we incorporate the reverence and adoration into the school pick up line or on the plane during a business trip? Talk to God. Praise him, adore him for all of the things in your life. The things that are going right, and the things that are going wrong. Tell him of your despair and your joy. Revere him for he alone is God.
I have been reminded to live out this mindset. Worship in life, despite life, thankful for life. Worship through monotony, worship in chaos, worship in sadness, and worship in euphoria. The mountain tops, the valleys, the sidelines of the football field: all places for worship. Below I included a couple of examples of worship for us over the course of this summer. The Lord has really been speaking a question into my heart. I want to share the same question with you. How can you worship today?
All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.
This picture says so much. Here Keith is interacting with secondary boys during a summer medical clinic. He went out of his way to speak to them. They were watching our team from a pretty far distance, across an open field. This was such a special time for Keith as he was able to bestow love and share with the boys during their nearly hour long conversation. After the conclusion of the clinic, I remember Keith vocalizing his thanksgiving to the Lord for their sweet encounter. Thankfulness for conversation about salvation, Taylor Swift, and life in Kenya. No sound system required, no pew to sit in, just a field with curious teenage boys. Worship in daily life.
We are often in awe of the goodness of God’s provision for our family. I find myself worshiping in thankfulness for this provision demonstrating itself in so many ways. This summer we were so blessed to have American playmates for Cooper. We worship out of thankfulness for families who come to Kenya and serve together, whose desire is to take the gospel to the nations.
A heart of gratitude for healing. Worship in the abilities of the “Great Physician.” I am healed only because of His great mercy. Worshiping in the ability to carry my baby today, to chase him on the floor, a hot sweaty tired mess. These things are only possible through the promises in the Word. Worship in daily life.